Light Therapy and Fibromyalgia
Let us take a look at the various types of light therapy and how they can help ease the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
Treatment with light devices, called light therapy, bright light therapy or phototherapy, makes use of artificial light in order to mimic natural light so that you can get the benefits associated with exposure to natural light. The benefits of exposure to natural light and also the light that is emitted from light therapy devices has a whole host of health benefits. First of all, it is an excellent source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D has a lot of benefits with one of the main being that it regulates our body clock. This is highly important for those who want to maintain a proper sleep schedule and routine. In addition to that, it also has numerous benefits for the skin as well.
Furthermore, this type of therapy has also been made of use in treating a wide array of mental health disorders. This includes things such as bipolar disorder, dementia, anxiety and many other conditions as well. This type of therapy has been particularly effective in helping ease the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a type of depression that typically occurs at a specific time of the year, almost every year. Normally, it is during the months of fall and winter, when there is less daylight, that this condition gets amplified.
In order to undergo a light therapy session, the person receiving the treatment will sit or work close to a device that is called a “light therapy box”. They will typically do the session in the early hours of the morning. As we have already mentioned before, this type of treatment tries to mimic the natural light that is available outdoors, in an indoor setting. The person undergoing the therapy will not look directly at the lamp, which usually tends to be diffused with a screen. While they undergo this type of treatment, patients are normally encouraged to carry out the daily normal activities. This includes things such as reading, writing or eating etc. The period these sessions run normally range from 15 minutes to three hours and it is usually administered about once or twice a day, never more than that. It is important to point out that the duration of these sessions depend on the individual needs of the patient. The result of the therapy can normally be seen within a couple of days, two to four days normally. It may, however, take up to three weeks for the treatment to significantly have any meaningful impact on the symptoms.
Research that has been conducted on light therapy, suggests that it works by affecting the chemicals within the brain. These are chemicals that are responsible for regulating the mood and also the sleep patterns of the individual patient. What light therapy does is that it technically replaces the lost exposure to natural sunlight in an indoor setting. Also, this type of therapy is almost always free from producing any side effects. However, in the rare cases that side effects have been observed, the side effects included eyestrain, headaches, agitation etc. Normally, the side effects can be mitigated by simply adjusting the amount of time that is spent in the sessions.
Types Of Light Therapy
There are three main variations of light therapy. These are bright light therapy, colored light therapy and also low light laser therapy. Bright light therapy is the type of therapy that we discussed above. Light therapy that is colored normally makes the use of colored beams of light (the colors are normally red, blue, white and violet). These lights are then directed at various parts of the body of the person undergoing the session. When the light that is emitted from the device enters into the eyes of the patient, the light energy is then converted into signals that are electric and which are then transmitted to the brain. This results in the release of a particular set of hormones including endorphins and serotonin. These are commonly known as the “feel good” hormones. When there is an increase in the levels of these chemicals, patients normally see an improvement in their mood and it also helps them to reduce any pain that they may have. This type of light therapy typically lasts for a period of 15 minutes to an hour. Light therapy that is known as low laser light therapy makes use of lasers that are of low frequencies and which are then applied directly on to the painful areas of the body. What this type of light therapy does is that it increases the levels of energy of the cells within the body. What this does is that it increases the rate at which these cells heal and thus it has the potential to reduce pain much more quickly.
Research on Light Therapy and Fibromyalgia
It has to be noted that while there have been very fews studies on the relationship between light therapy and Fibromyalgia, however, light therapy has been made use of in treating a lot of the symptoms of this condition. This includes symptoms such as depression, pain and also disturbances of their sleep patterns.
Over the course of the previous twenty years, a lot of evidence has been mounting which supports the efficacy of making use of this type of therapy in order to treat many forms of depression. This includes things such as SAD, chronic depression, premenstrual depression and also bipolar disorder. It also includes the depression that people with Fibromyalgia suffer from. A very thorough analysis of research that was previously published on the effectiveness of phototherapy for the purposes of pain relief did find that it was effective in pain management for a number of different conditions. This also includes the pain that people with Fibromyalgia suffer from.